The Influence of Sports Psychology on Athletic Injury and Recovery
Sports psychology is defined as the scientific study of thoughts, feelings and behaviours of a person in relation to a sporting or exercise activity (Shaw et al, 2005).
Applying psychology to sport is aimed at assisting athletes in achieving and maintaining optimal performance and overcoming injuries by managing emotions and decreasing the psychological effects that injury and poor performance can have. This is achieved by aiding athletes in using a variety of techniques in competitive situations in order to maintain control and optimise performance (Brian Mac, 2010).
The benefits of using psychology in sport and in relation to sports injury is becoming seen as increasingly important and has been valued amongst athletes and the multi-disciplinary team working with them for many years and now the vast majority of athletes and teams employ a sports psychologist (Cole, 2005). Many psychological factors have a role in the occurrence of injuries in athletes, their ability to deal with these injuries and their ability to recover and respond well to rehabilitation back to their pre-injury state (Shaw et al, 2005). Therefore if psychological factors are taken into consideration when advising an athlete whilst training, injuries can be avoided and whilst treating and rehabilitating an athlete, recovery can be improved and the period of time required in order to rehabilitate to pre-injury state shortened.
Stress is a psychological factor that can occur in athletes prior to competition. It can affect them mentally and physically having a negative impact on their abilities to perform and increasing their chances of sustaining an injury. Research has shown that the relationship between injuries in athletes and psychological factors is essentially stress related.
Stress can increase anxiety altering an athlete’s attention, focus and muscular tension thus increasing the likelihood of an injury occurring...